Work is underway to improve and renew the museums throughout North Cyprus under the auspices of the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums via the Ministry of Tourism and Environment. In this context, the Iskele Archaeology Museum was opened to the public following completion of the work by Iskele Municipality.

In the Iskele Archaeology Museum, which is the first new museum to be opened after 27 years, works from 8 different historical periods ranging from the Neolithic period to the Roman period are being exhibited.

The Ministry of Tourism and Environment stated that this will add great value to the tourism potential of the Iskele area, which has been gained with the contributions of the Iskele Municipality.  The Iskele Archaeology Museum opened with a ceremony.

President Mustafa Akinci, Minister of Tourism and Environment Fikri Ataoglu, Minister of Interior Ayşegül Baybars, Iskele Mayor Hasan Sadikoğlu, Mehmetcik Mayor Cemil Sariçizmeli and some members of parliament attended the opening event at which there was great interest from the people of the region.

At the opening Yeni Erenkoy High School students performed a dance show.

Fuat Azimli, Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums, who made a speech at the opening ceremony, said that the cultural heritage of many civilizations has reached the present day with 10,000 years of history. He said that they will exhibit the works of 8 different periods in the archaeological museum, which has been achieved with the interest and support of the Minister of Tourism, Fikri Ataoğlu.

Having no technical staff in the past, Azimli pointed out that they had difficulty in processing the artefacts they had obtained from the excavations and stated that it is not possible to exhibit all of the unfinished works from the excavations at the moment.

Minister of Tourism and Environment Fikri Ataoğlu stated that the problem of technical personnel will be solved as soon as possible.

Iskele Mayor, Hasan Sadikoğlu noted that the geography and natural beauty of the island, which has the unique meeting point of green and blue blended, religions and sects, traditions and customs, and managed to protect historical beauty.

Sadikoğlu expressed his satisfaction with the protocol that he signed with Fikri Ataoglu, Minister of Tourism and Environment in December 2016, and said that such places are important contributions to culture and history.

Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoglu spoke at the event and said that many civilizations lived on the land of our country and that the remains of these civilizations and monuments were exhibited in our museums.  He said “As a Ministry, we continue to work on behalf of the preservation of our historical heritage,  the Ministry is now working on museums at the same level as the world in modern museology and new innovations are being added every day”.

Ataoğlu, stated that there are 29 museums within the Department of Antiquities and Museums, and that the work for increasing this number are continuing. “Today, 27 years later, this is the first time in this scope to bring a new museum to my country and  I am proud and happy”.

He also said that the Iskele Archaeology Museum, in particular the Iskele area in general, is a very important gain for the country. “In the two years I have been in office, we have constantly produced projects for our country and giving our projects life.

Ataoglu said that a decision was made to open a museum in accordance with the understanding of contemporary museology because of the wide archaeological potential of the region. Ataoğlu thanked the Iskele Belediyesi, who set the initiative for the completion of this museum.

President Mustafa Akinci thanked all concerned for their efforts and said he was pleased to participate in the opening of a museum for the first time during his three-year presidency.

He said that cultural assets are the common property of mankind and should be preserved and maintained for this reason. and the level of civilization was measured by the buildings, theatre buildings, libraries and similar buildings.  Akinci emphasised the importance of domestic and foreign tourists visiting such museums.

The Minister of Tourism and Environment said that within the scope of their studies, Güzelyurt Doğa Museum has been restored and gives a new face to visitors.

The work started for Güzelyurt Railway Station restoration will be continued shortly, after the tenders for the historic Vasaf Palas Building are completed within the scope of the work for Lefke museum and recruitment will be organized internally for staff to meet with visitors.

The project of the Girne Fine Arts Museum was completed following the tender process.

Again, the Chimney House and the Namik Kemal Museum in the Famagusta region and the Lusignan House in Nicosia and the Büyükkonuk Icon Museum have reached the last stages of their work. We will arrange the opening of these 4 museums this year, the Minister said.

Minister Ataoğlu said “As a Ministry we believe that the priority target groups for the museum projects we are working on should be the children, young people and teachers and we have had meetings with the Ministry of National Education.   We will meet with the museums on a regular basis and at the same time evaluate them as an educational environment”.  He added that the number of museum visitors rose to over 1 million in 2017.